Outlaws need pants.

Just south of Lawson, in the pastoral countryside, a huge factory, built more than 150 years ago, made pants and sweaters. The factory may have sold pants and sweaters to Harry Truman, who sold pants and sweaters when he was … Read More

Downhill

Fort Leonard Wood demonstrates the discipline you’d expect from a school that cranks out military police officers and crime scene investigators – and engineers, adept at road building. It’s fitting, then, that St. Robert sits on the edge of rugged … Read More

Propeller Adoration

Even from a distance, Conception Abbey peeks above the horizon. The giant 120-year-old brick basilica rises from the pastoral landscape. It’s home to 65 Benedictine monks, who comprise nearly a third of the population of Conception, Missouri. Back in 1893, … Read More

The Chicken or the Egg?

At Boynton, Erifnus swerved to miss the town water pump. There’s not enough traffic through Boynton to justify removing the water pump standing smack-dab in the middle of Route N, protected by heavy gauge railings and reflecting signs. It raises … Read More

Worth the Trip

It’s an oxymoron for sure, that Worth County has the lowest per capita income in the whole state. The lack of economic development assures miles of green rolling farmland, and not much congestion. Where I found them, the people are … Read More

And the first shall be last…

Every day Missourians roll across America’s first stimulus project from the recession recovery act, the new Osage River bridge on Highway 17 near Tuscumbia. Projects like this create a unique problem for me. The dang highway department keeps making new … Read More

Calamity

Down the road from Dottie & Chub’s, Ravanna is an unincorporated area within spittin distance of the Vandyke Conservation Area. It boasts 248 residents, but its most famous product is Martha Jane Cannary. When she was 13, her family moved … Read More

Goodness, Gracious, Great Bales o’ Fire!

Bales in a Field of Fire

We came upon the biggest black field I’d ever seen. Musta been 100 acres. I drove through miles and miles of the blackened fields of Harrison County, burned off after the harvest, to reinvigorate the soil. It’s a fiery, smoky … Read More

Oops!

Graveyard for Naughty English Teachers

We passed a sign that said Chapel Hill Cemetary (sic). Imagine any English teacher buried there, eternally damned to lie under a misspelled word. Then again, maybe the sign was painted by one of her students, in which case she … Read More

Skunks, Laws and Hardware

 “That there’s not a skunk,” the guide pointed to one animal pelt on a table, “That’s genuine Alaskan sable.” It was a skunk, the guide admitted, but to the European fur market in the early 1800s, the term Alaskan sable … Read More